Elders often advise new mothers to burp their babies after each feeding. Well, it’s scientifically correct burping a child is beneficial for the health of babies. By burping or belching, our body releases gas from the upper digestive tract through the mouth. Burping helps relieve discomfort built up due to gas, which accumulates during eating and drinking. In the case of newborn and infants, sucking breast milk or bottled milk can trap air bubbles in their tummy, which cause a lot of discomforts. Therefore, burping or winding is a crucial part of feeding a baby.
What is the ideal time for burping in babies?
A burp help release the trapped gas in our upper digestive tract, including the stomach and the duodenum. Burping is not easy for all babies, while others require assistance to wind. Breastfeeding babies swallow less air while sucking milk than bottle-fed ones, so they need less burping. It is possible baby might bring up some milk while burping, so don’t panic in that situation.
There is no set time when you need to burp your baby. Babies need burping at different times during their feeding. Some need it during their feed, while others need it post-feeding. You will know by watching your child’s reaction to feeding, such as if they seem uncomfortable while feeding, give them a burping break. If they seem fine throughout feeding, wait until they stop.
What are the signs of trapped gas in babies?
Not only milk feeding can cause trapped gas. Kids’ digestive tract is immature and naturally produces a lot of gas as a by-product of digestion. The following are some common symptoms of trapped gas in babies:
- Bloating or distended abdomen
- Stomach cramps
- Colic pain
You can see the following obvious signs of trapped gas in a child while feeding or afterwards:
- Cry or turn red
- Arched back
- Bringing their legs toward their tummy or curled up position
- Hard to settle and irritable
- Tummy feels hard or firm
How to ease your baby’s trapped wind or burp your child?
The first thing to do is to make your baby doesn’t get trapped wind in the first place, even though it is not 100% preventable. The following are some preventive measures you can follow to avoid getting trapped air in your babies:
- You can prevent your babies from swallowing air by sitting them upright while breastfeeding or feeding them a bottle.
- Certain bottles, such as anti-colic bottles, help your baby swallow less air. These are specially-designed bottles that can reduce air gulping and help with burping.
- Make sure the nipple hole is the appropriate size if your baby is bottle nursing. If the hole is large, milk can flow out too quickly, which leads to the baby swallowing more air, causing bloating and discomfort.
- During feeding, tilt the bottle 30-40 degrees upward so that the air rises to the bottom of the bottle and only milk is present near the nipple, causing less air goes into the baby’s mouth.
While burping your baby, support their head and neck, ensure their back and tummy are straight, and gently rub or pat their back for a few minutes. Sometimes, children spit out some milk during burping, so put some cloth or burp clothes for betterment. You can try one or a combination of the following ways to burp your baby:
- Positioning them in a sitting place on your lap
Position your child in a sitting manner on your lap, siding away from you. Use your one-hand palm to support the stomach while your fingers assist the chin and jaw without stimulating pressure around the neck of the baby. Slightly bend them forward and gently pat or rub their back with the other hand for a few minutes. It will stimulate the digestive tract to release the trapped wing and burping.
- On your shoulder or chest
If your child’s neck and head movements become stable, you can put them on your shoulder with their chin resting on your shoulder. But, if their primary movements are still unsteady, you can place them on your chest after putting a cloth on you. Support their neck and head with one hand and gently rub or pat their back with your free hand until they burp.
- Lying them in your lap
Put a waste cloth on your lap and lay your baby face down across your leg, supporting their chin and jaw with one hand. Gently rub their back. Ensure your baby’s head is not lower than the rest of the body.
After a few minutes of trying, if your baby doesn’t burp, you can stop, as your baby doesn’t need one. But, if your baby shows signs of trapped wind, lay them on their back and gently massage their stomach or move their legs in the riding bicycle position. In case this doesn’t help your child burping, speak to your healthcare provider for guidance.